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August 23, 2023 | Tom Ballard

ORNL adds to its total with six new R&D 100 Awards

Since the recognition was created 60 years ago, the lab has won more than 250 awards that are often referred to as “The Oscars of Innovation” and the “Nobel Prize of Engineering.”

The 100 Winners of the 2023 R&D 100 Awards have been announced by R&D World magazine, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) was honored with six. The latest awards push the lab’s total to more than 250 since the recognition was established in 1963.

Often referred to as “The Oscars of Innovation” and the “Nobel Prize of Engineering,” the R&D 100 Awards honor science and technology research and development leading to new commercial products, technologies and materials that are available for sale or license.

“ORNL strives to deliver technological solutions for the nation’s toughest problems,” said Jeff Smith, Interim ORNL Director. “This year’s R&D 100 Awards are a reminder of how hard our scientists and engineers work to accomplish that feat.”

The winning technologies are:

  1. Additively Manufactured Thermally Conductive Collimators for Neutron Instrumentation, developed by ORNL and PolarOnyx, a laser 3D manufacturing company located in Chapel Hill, NC. The two developed 2D and 3D collimators and parts using aluminum-boron carbide matrix composite-based manufacturing. Collimators are essential components for neutron and x-ray experiments as they reduce background so that only neutrons and x-rays scattered from a sample are measured.
  2. OpeN-AM: A Platform for Operando Neutron Diffraction Measurements of Additive Manufacturing, developed solely by ORNL. a platform for performing operando neutron diffraction studies of metals during additive manufacturing (AM), also known as 3D printing. The platform consists of a deposition head, machining capabilities and infrared monitoring. All can be coordinated with operando engineering neutron diffraction measurements with the VULCAN beamline at the Spallation Neutron Source at ORNL.
  3. Physics-Informed, Active Learning–Driven Autonomous Microscopy for Science Discovery, developed by ORNL in conjunction with researchers at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Together, they created a physics-informed, active learning method for autonomous experiments. This software suite is composed of active learning algorithms, control software for microscopes, and other experimental tools that expedite scientific discovery.
  4. Precise, Continuous, & High-Speed Manufacturing of Thermoplastic Composites Using Additive Manufacturing-Compression Molding, AM-CM, developed by ORNL where researchers created a highly automated process for thermoplastic composite manufacturing that combines the benefits of AM and compression molding to produce a high-performance functional composite structure at automotive production rates.
  5. SuperNeuro: An Accelerated Neuromorphic Computing Simulator, developed by ORNL. To address the current limitations and inefficiencies that limit large-scale neuromorphic computing, researchers at ORNL created SuperNeuro, a Python-based open software that provides artificial intelligence practitioners with brain-like simulators that are fast and scalable on central and graphics processing platforms.

ORNL also supported the development of CANDLE (CANcer Distributed Learning Environment), a 2023 R&D 100 Award winner in the software/services category. It is a collaboration with multiple Department of Energy laboratories and Federick National Laboratory for Cancer Research for an open-source software platform that provides deep learning methodologies for advancing cancer research. The lead lab was Argonne National Laboratory supported by Lawrence Livermore, Los Alamos, and ORNL.

The winners will be honored at a black-tie event scheduled for November 16 at the Coronado Island Marriott Resort & Spa, near San Diego.

A complete list of the winners can be found here.


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